By ED FINKELSTEIN
Pine Lawn - Once again, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 responded to an urgent plea for help, and a 65-year old disabled veteran benefited. It’s not the first time for Local 562’s community outreach, and it certainly won’t be the last.
Officers from the recently formed North County Police Cooperative now under the direction of new Chief Tim Swope, were looking to increase their community outreach and wanted to find a veteran they could help. Army veteran Fred Reeves was recommended and the rest is history.
The police officers, on their own time, arrived at Reeve’s only to find a much larger problem than they expected. As often happens in a remodel job, it became evident that the home had many more problems than just a little paint and plaster could fix; among the new problems, lots of bad plumbing, two broken stoves, no working refrigerator, and deteriorating walls.
So, the police joined forces with Beyond Housing and Home Depot, who provided a $5,000 grant for new appliances, countertops, laminate floor and cabinets to do a remodel. And Holiday Inn put Reeves up during the remodeling.
LOCAL 562 PITCHES IN
Pine Lawn Mayor Terry Epps turned to his friend Local 562 Director of Minority Recruitment Fred Searcy Jr. for help with the incredibly deteriorating plumbing system.
And of course, Local 562 agreed to help, installing new plumbing stacks for the kitchen, the bath, a new washing machine, cabling out the existing drain to the street and breaking up, then replacing, part of a concrete floor in the basement to make it all happen.
“It provided a great opportunity for our younger members who participated to get some practical experience during the two-day project. We were all honored to use our skills for someone who fought for our freedom,” Searcy said.
“I am very grateful for what they’re all doing for me, but it kind of makes me a little upset, too, in a way, because to me, it feels like a handout,” Reeves told the Post-Dispatch. “This is my house, it’s my responsibility. But I just can’t do all this work. I really thank the Lord for what they’re all doing.”
“Like so many of our building trades unions, we’re glad to help our community, especially when there is a need like this instance,” said Local 562 Business Manager John O’Mara.
The Police Cooperative serves Wellston, Pine Lawn, Vinita Terrace, Vinita Park and Charlack. It not only provides a full range of police services, but also has active community outreach and engagement programs.